Who Has The World’s Biggest EV Charging Network? Trigger Warning: It Ain’t Tesla

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Yesterday, General Motors announced that its upcoming all-electric Bolt will have an EPA-approved range of 238 miles. This came as quite a shock to electric carmaker Tesla’s ardent fans. According to Reuters, the Chevrolet Bolt “will be launched in a few months, nearly a year before the Tesla Model 3,” it will have a starting price “similar to the announced starting price for the Model 3,” but it will outdistance the Model 3’s targeted “range of about 218 miles.” With those stats, and helped by the metal-moving moxie of some 3,000 Chevrolet dealers in the U.S. (compared with the 100 or so Tesla stores) the Bolt has everything to disrupt the erstwhile disruptor Tesla.

Yet, it took only 5 entries on the Tesla Motors Club message board for the fans to regain their composure, and to name what the Bolt is missing: Tesla’s Supercharger network. It’s a well-known refrain: Whenever Tesla’s vociferous followers near the losing end of a debate, they deploy a catch-all argument that sounds a bit like the old “But does it have a hemi?” from the last century: “But does it have a Supercharger? But does it have a Gigafactory?”

Surprise: The Chevrolet Bolt, along with the many upcoming longer range EVs by Nissan, Volkswagen, BMW, etc. etc. have their supercharger networks.

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Tata Motors on Bolt vs. Bolt

Like a bolt from the blue?

Like a bolt from the blue?

When TransportEvolved pointed out that Tata Motors has a five-door hatchback called “Bolt” and suggested that this might be a problem for Chevrolet’s planned Bolt EV, we thought we would reach out to the Indian automaker for comment on the matter. Today, a Tata Motors spokesman made the following statement to DailyKanban:

“Bolt is currently a brand name registered by Tata Motors for the Indian market and we are in the process of registering it for some of our key international markets as relevant. However, we do not presently anticipate any concerns about the GM vehicle as both of these products are focused on very different markets”.

GM has assiduously avoided saying what markets outside the United States it might sell the Bolt in, and has even said it may reconsider the name Bolt altogether. Losing out on the Bolt name in India may not be a deciding factor, but, depending on what other markets Tata registers the Bolt name in, this could potentially become more of an issue. Tata may not “presently anticipate any concerns” with the name-sharing, but if GM has global ambitions for Bolt it may need to reach into its bag of brands to avoid overlap with Tata’s Bolt.